Who Is Derek Gehl And
What's Project Ignite All About?
Have you ever gone to Google and typed in something like...
- How do I start a business on the Internet?
- How do I know what online marketing expert to listen to?
- Whose internet marketing advice should I take?
- How can a beginner actually start an online business?
- Are there still good online business ideas?
- How can I find them? Can I create a business that makes a lot of money AND gives me my freedom?
- How do I keep up with all the new tools and strategies flooding my inbox daily?
- How do I get people to visit my website?
- When someone visits my website how do I get them to buy my product?
If your answer is yes, then you're in the right place!
Hi, I'm Derek Gehl and it's a pleasure to meet you.
I'm the founder of ProjectIgnite.com, a serial internet entrepreneur, a speaker, an author and a mentor. I'm also a dad, a husband, and animal lover, an avid cyclist, a golfer, and a skier. Here's a picture of my incredible family...
My Passion: Inspiring & Educating
Aspiring Online Entrepreneurs
Today, I spend most of my time running my online businesses in my home office or at the local coffee shop here in West Vancouver where thanks to technology, I’m able to run various online businesses with the help of my awesome virtual team that’s comprised of incredible people from six different countries.
When I’m not working on my Internet businesses you’ll probably find me…
At Whistler throwing my self down the nearest hill on my skis or mountain bike depending on the season.
Or somewhere in the world speaking at an Internet marketing conference or some sort of entrepreneurial workshop, sharing the tools and systems I use to generate seven figures a year on the Internet with no “official office” to speak of.
So What's Project Ignite All About?
I created this website because I saw a need… everyday there are thousands of people trying to unravel the mystery that is starting a business on the Internet. Trying to figure out…
- Where to start online
- What to sell online
- How to sell online
- What Internet marketing advice to take
- What online business tools to use
- And ultimately how to make money on the Internet while achieving MORE freedom in your life.
And that's why I created ProjectIgnite.com.
It’s not a website or resource for established internet marketing experts, it’s a resource for ordinary people who want to learn how to start an online business the right way.
It’s a place where aspiring entrepreneurs can get simple answers to complex questions from real internet entrepreneurs.
Where you can get inside the brains of already successful people, find out how they became successful online, and model their success instead of trying to reinvent the wheel.
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t just the ABC’s of online business, we’re going to be covering the advanced stuff too. We’re just going to be doing it in a way that doesn’t require you to have a PHD in Internet marketing and computer science to figure it all out.
And that’s about it Thanks for stopping by and I sincerely hope I can help you on your journey as an online entrepreneur.
To your massive success!
Founder & Chief Entrepreneur
Derek Gehl ~ Internet Marketer & Digital Entrepreneur, The Long Story…
And here are some additional factoids that may have been missed on Wikipedia...
- Derek Gehl was born on March 10, 1977 Lethbridge, Alberta (that makes me 40 if you’re counting)
- Derek currently lives in West Vancouver, British Columbia (love this place!)
- Discovered the Internet in 1996 (It was sooo freakin’ slow)
- Dropped out of college to pursue “Internet Marketing” in 1997 (my parents were not thrilled with this choice… they’re cool with it now though)
- Began working with Corey Rudl in 1998 to build “The Internet Marketing Center” (in an apartment with the tunes cranked and a pool table… it was awesome!)
- He was the COO of Internet Marketing Center 1998-2005 & CEO from 2005-2009 (managed to avoid wearing a tie to work for over 10 years)
- Built Internet Marketing Center to $30,000,000 annual sales, 100+ employees with offices in Vancouver, BC and Austin, TX before selling company to private equity group in late 2007 (over the decade we sold over $110,000,000+ on the net)
- Pioneered numerous different “Internet marketing technologies” including one of the first email marketing applications (Mailloop), the first secure ebook publishing solution (eBook Pro), affiliate program management (AssocTRAC), and eBusiness building platform (BeBiz), just to name a few…
- Have hosted, keynoted and spoken at 100+ conferences over the past decade (with over a half million miles flown on United Airlines to prove it!)
- Authored and produced numerous bestselling Internet marketing courses and training systems (and I still am!)
And after over a decade of building and finally selling one the biggest companies in the world, dedicated to developing Internet marketing strategies and software to help ordinary people start and grow successful businesses on the Internet, I have spent the last two years reinventing how I run a business.
You see, in the early days of Internet marketing we were able to set up basic websites to sell our products, but the reality of managing our entire businesses virtually with a remote workforce just wasn’t feasible. The outsourcing and project management tools that are commonplace today just didn’t exist. Cloud computing and SAAS systems were a concept held back by bandwidth limitations.
- I can now run an entire company without ever leaving my home (my daily commute is less than 30 seconds… even in heavy traffic)
- I can source talented team members from anywhere in the world (I have team members in Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, Australia and of course Canada)
- I can deliver my coaching and training with high quality videos and webinars to any corner of the world (half of which I’ve filmed on a simple Flip video camera)
- I can build complicated and sophisticated applications and websites using off-the-shelf software and contract developers for a fraction of the cost (where was WordPress in 1997??)
And this is exactly what I am doing by…
Building what I envision to be the #1 premium Internet business building training system for ordinary people to build their first ebusiness. With over 2000+ happy members to date, the “Ignited Acady” is well on its way to achieving my vision…
Pioneering the Internet marketing community in Asia & Australia, running regular workshops and conferences in Australia, Singapore & Malaysia with plans to expand into more Asian countries in the coming year.
Developing a suite of WordPress Plugins & Themes designed to take an incredible website building platform and make it even easier to use for all of the non-techies who are still struggling to build a halfway decent webpage.
So there it is… the “Condensed Version,” of “Who is Derek Gehl” and if you aren’t bored yet you can continue reading the “Complete Version” below…
Who Is Derek Gehl?
The Really Long Story...
Who Is Derek Gehl?
The Really Long Story...
I was born in 1977 in Alberta and grew up just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia on a 20 acre cattle farm (don't most digital entrepreneurs start out on cattle farms?).
I didn't do well academically and struggled through high school and it wasn't until my mid twenties when I was finally diagnosed as having ADD (attention deficit disorder) that it all became clear as to why I struggled in school.
My father was a police officer and my mother worked for a law firm. Ever since I can remember my dad always had a side business on the go while working full-time catching bad guys. Whether he was building houses, farming, teaching at the university or writing books, he was always looking for a way to get ahead!
If you want to read a good book and support a good cause click here to get a copy!
Now some say that it was his entrepreneurial spirit that rubbed off on me and contributed to my success on the Internet, but that’s really only partly true.
You see, I watched him work hard all of his life. Very hard.
First as a police office, then eventually a detective and finally as an Inspector. He worked long shifts in a high stress environment. Then he would come home and pick up a hammer or shovel and continue to work.
I can honestly say I never looked at him and said to myself, "Wow, I want to work that hard!".
Don't get me wrong, I have the utmost respect for him and what he has accomplished in his life but I always figured there had to be an easier way to get ahead while stopping occasionally to enjoy life along the way.
I know his entrepreneurial spirit and work ethic played a huge role in making the person I am today but I also know that my desire to find an "easier way" and NOT work that hard by working smarter played an even bigger role!
Now let's fast forward to my youth. I was what I like to describe as academically challenged in high school so after barely making it through high school I was in no rush to sign-up for college. Not to mention, my grades were so poor not reputable college or university would take me.
So I did what you do when you are not going to school and you need money... I got a job.
I bounced from low paying job to low paying job. I worked hard labour, I worked in restaurants but there was one job in particular that started me down a path (although I did not know it at the time).
Now I know you are going to laugh when I tell you what this job was. In fact, when I had the job I didn't actually tell any of my friends what I was doing because it was too humiliating.
You ready for this? Here it is...
I was a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman!
Yes, I was "that guy" who knocks on your door and interrupts your dinner. But it turned out to be the best education in sales that I think anybody could ask for.
For an entire year I knocked on hundreds of doors. I had doors closed in my face. I was bitten by dogs. I faced rejection every day.
I learned firsthand the science and psychology of taking people from complete apathy, to a state of interest and desire strong enough to buy my product.
And even though I didn’t know it at the time, that training and experience would play a critical role in my future as an Internet entrepreneur (and no, I’ve never sold vacuum cleaners on the Internet).
But despite making decent money, I also knew that I didn’t want to do that all of my life (or even another 5 minutes) so after a year of knocking on doors I retired my vacuum cleaner sales kit and began looking for my next adventure…
So it was in late 1996 and the whole ‘Internet thing’ is was gaining momentum. A few of my friends had taken programming and IT courses at the local college and after just one year they were receiving job offers with big pay checks and cool perks… sounded good to me!
So off to the local college I went and enrolled in the first programming course I could get into.
Except for one little problem… I knew NOTHING about computers and worse yet, after just a few months I found out I hated programming. Staring at lines of code all day was NOT my idea of a good time… and with my A.D.D. personality I was actually next to hopeless.
But there was one class that intrigued me and that was “Basic HTML.”
Not because I liked HTML (especially not back then since we actually had to write it line by line in Notepad) but because according to the teacher you could actually create websites to sell stuff.
I found myself thinking, “So let me get this straight… I spent the last year pounding the pavement getting doors slammed in my face trying to sell a product to people who don’t want it, when I could have been sitting in front of my computer building webpages selling products to people who found me because they were actually interested in what I had to sell? Sign me up!”
I was hooked. I knew that’s what I wanted to do. One way or another I was going to make money using the Internet.
So after a year of building sites, testing offers and “learning the hard way” I came across a guy on the Internet by the name of Corey Rudl.
He was selling a book called “Car Secrets Revealed” and had just started teaching people how to sell stuff on the Internet… and he lived in Vancouver not far from me!
After a little research on the new I knew I could a lot from this.
So after a little negotiation (aka begging) I convinced him to show me the ropes and so began an eight year partnership that was an incredible adventure.
We started off in Corey's apartment just outside of downtown Vancouver and it was the truest definition of an "Internet Startup".
We had a pool table in the middle of the office, network cables hanging from the ceiling and bad 80's tunes blaring most of the day.
We were glued to our computers 16 hours a day, cranked up on caffeine, testing and developing new Internet marketing tactics and strategies.
The next 8 years was a blur!
In the first two years we ended up taking over three apartments in our building and knocking out walls to connect them until the owner of the building told us we had to stop knocking down walls and go get a real office... so that's what we did.
We moved into our first real office in downtown Vancouver with 23 staff.
By that point we had created numerous courses on starting and growing digital businesses and we had developed numerous different pieces of software including of the first mail marketing applications (Mailloop), one of the first affiliate program solutions (AssocTRAC) and one of the first eBook applications (eBook Pro).
Over the next 5 years our company, The Internet Marketing Center, grew and grew!
We built one of the first real coaching programs to help people start and grow their businesses on the Internet which quickly scaled up to over 30 coaching in our office working with hundreds of clients every single year,
The growth curve was phenomenal. We had gone from a few guys in an apartment to a company generating $20,000,000+ per year in sales with over 100 employees. Corey was the CEO and the face of the company and I was the COO running things behind the scenes.
By all accounts it was an incredible success, but there was one big problem...
Neither Corey nor I wanted to run a ‘big company’. We were both entrepreneurs at heart. We both loved the hands on, in-the-trenches marketing, testing and teaching. But here we were steering this massive (at least massive to us) company spending most of our time dealing with operational and growth issues… the stuff we didn’t like!
So at the beginning of 2005 we made the decision… it was time to sell the Internet Marketing Center and get back to doing what we loved.
So we spent the first part of 2005 preparing the company for a sale.
Then on June 2nd, 2005 tragedy struck. My partner and close friend Corey Rudl passed away in a tragic auto racing accident. The company and the industry were in a state of shock. We had lost a close friend, mentor and industry pioneer and it was over the following months we realized how many lives we had touched as we were flooded with thousands of emails of condolence from around the world.
A tribute site was created and still exists today at www.RememberCorey.com.
But I knew Corey well and his ‘A Type’ personality would have been mad as hell if this had been the end of everything we built. So in June 2005, I shelved the idea of selling IMC, stepped out from behind the scenes as COO and took over as CEO of the Internet Marketing Center, continuing to drive the growth. Over the following two years we pushed sales up to $30,000,000/year and launched numerous new products.
We were holding seminars all over the world and I was racking up the frequent flyer points speaking 2-3 times a month. I had the opportunity to speak to audiences from 50 to 6,000 people. I made numerous television appearances on Entrepreneur TV in the United Kingdom, Breakfast Television in Canada, and MTV Malaysia and Channel News Asia.
I was a featured contributor to a number of industry publications including Entrepreneur Magazine, MSNBC Small Business, and AOL Small Business. But despite the continued success, in 2007 I knew it was time to revisit the plan Corey and had devised to sell the Internet Marketing Center and get back to my roots.
In mid-2007 I achieved that goal and sold the Internet Marketing Center to a Private Equity group.
Over the following two years I stayed on as CEO of the Internet Marketing Center, finally stepping away in late 2008 just after my son was born. It was time to pull back the reins, spend some time with my beautiful wife Coralynn and my two sons Carter and Hunter, and get back to doing what I really love… hands-on Internet marketing.
So from the day I left the Internet Marketing Center until today I have been behind the scenes building websites and testing new ways for the ‘small guy’ to make money on the Internet. I’ve also had the good fortune of working with incredible companies in numerous different industries, allowing me to test my tools and strategies in multiple marketplaces in addition to my own businesses, validating their effectiveness before I roll them out to my students.
I am frequently asked if it’s still possible for “small guys” to make money on the Internet or if all of the good ideas are gone.
The Internet continues to evolve and grow at a phenomenal rate and with growth and change comes new opportunities for those positioned with the knowledge and skills to take action and reap the rewards.
To your success…